Friday, December 19, 2014

The Darkest Time of the Year


I found this ceramic tree last summer. It's really red and
white but looks pink in this photo.
 It's a gray, cold, damp day. A threat of rain or perhaps snow flurries is in the air; it's December, and the darkest time of the year as we approach the Solstice.

I remember when this time of year was a difficult one for me. Perhaps it was a touch of Seasonal Affective Disorder, or perhaps it was just because in those days before we had electric lights here, the dark came so soon and even the days were often like today's weather, gloomy and overcast so that the house seemed to be dark all the time.

Nowadays I don't mind December's dark. I am busy from the time I get up until fairly late at night, sometimes even stretching one day into the next. I admit, I like the sense of nesting that December brings as my focus turns back to home and homely things. I tidy shelves and closets and storage baskets, sort out clothes no longer worn and the oddly growing lot of bottles and tubes in the bathroom storage areas. I think about what I want to sort out next, and enjoy looking at the places I've organized once again.

This year I'm having a hard time finding time for my usual December routines. Since I began selling antiques and vintage things my days have become busier and busier. Now I'm doing more painting, and we have more booths to maintain. I enjoy it all, but I am missing my "quiet" period during the weeks before and after the holidays.

So today I shifted back to old ways and enjoying a day of puttering around the house, tackling whatever takes my fancy. First was bathroom cabinets, second those booth totes that needed sorted out and re-stored until our next trip to restock. Then it was on to more cleaning, sorting, putting away. A nice pile is ready for the donation center. Tonight I'll write thank-you notes and pay bills. And just maybe make some cookies, although I haven't had the urge to do much baking this year.

It's been a good day so far. I hope yours has been too.



Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Tree's Up!

We finished our tree this weekend. Now to take down the Indian corn that's still hanging by the driveway! It's funny how we can miss something we pass by every day. Larry even put lights up right beside it and didn't notice the corn.

Still way behind this year on getting things ready for the holidays. I think we'll do the 12 days of Christmas this year and leave it all in place until January 6th! At least we'll have time to enjoy it before packing it away again.

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Projects and a Few Finds

In the midst of storytelling, Thanksgiving, visitors, and getting ready for Christmas, I've been working on some painting projects--three to be exact. I have photos of two of them; I will have a pic of the third later on.

First, check out these awesome lamps! It seems like I get into runs of certain things. Like those Pyrex Primary Color bowls. I had one set for sale; now I have four. They just kept showing up for reasonable prices and in this business the mantra is buy it when you see it.

 Same thing with lamps. Recently I've been finding several good vintage lamps and shades.

I find that these sell pretty well if they have nice shades so I have this stockpile of shades, waiting for the right lamps.

Some were local finds, others I got from a vendor at a flea market who is one of my best sources for all kinds of stuff. I pile up what I want, he names a price, we bargain a little and both come out of it happy.

And these little boudoir lamps were an eBay find. Will they sell? I hope so--they probably won't be as easy as the others but I love them. I need to find small shades for them--even with my big ol' stockpile I don't have the right size.

About those projects: I posted most of these photos on Facebook already, so you might have already seen them. This is the top, in progress.

And this is the almost-complete cabinet. I still need to put the door on and the shelf in it (still being painted) but I was so excited about the way it was coming along, I just had to stage it to see it for real.

The second is this kitchen base cabinet with a porcelain top. I've been learning the transfer process, and I think this one came out fairly well. This cabinet was newly painted blue and white; it was nice but I had this idea I wanted to try out, and I love the result. We changed the hardware too, and Larry is cleaning the top which had been painted. I guess the guy didn't like its chippy look, but I think it will look fine in its natural state.

As I've worked on these, I've also worked on a lot of little projects. The top of my washer and dryer stay full of these odds and ends! It's a good workspace and cleans up pretty easy!

 Napkin holder was brass colored but I think it looks better in a shabby white.
Chalkboard in first steps, my first try at doing one of these, and I'll say right now, I am one messy painter! How DO people keep those edges straight? I tried the painters tape and that didn't work, but doing without it was even worse. It looks fine now after much touch-up and extra coats of paint, but sheesh.


Here it is, almost done. I will add a graphic to the white part.



I thought this was a clever idea, but the metal was gold-colored. More white paint--it's almost done, just touchup, cleanup, and waxing to do.


This is one of a set of three mirrors, again all in brass metal. So white paint again to give them the shabby chic look.

Picture frame in progress (I told you I was messy!). This was a dark wood frame; I painted it white, then red, then white and distressed and dark-waxed it.

And finished. Now I'm wondering if I should have painted the frame black? What do you think?


And in the wings, waiting for some workspace to open up, is this old guy. Already sanded and ready to get going...as soon as I get something else outa here.


That's most of the things I've been working on. My work clothes are speckled, my nails are ruined, my floors need little paint drops cleaned off of them, and I am having a blast.


Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.
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